Monday, February 22, 2010
The Style of Princess Grace
The last week or so, I've been spending too much time on Ebay. I've been on the hunt for vintage sewing patterns. Mostly for children. But I have been peeking at some of the 1950's evening wear. Was there ever such a glamorous and elegant era? If I could go back in time, I would chose to to live in the Victorian era or the 1950's. Oh to go to the tea's and the parties that the Vanderbilt's put on. I'm guessing that had I lived in this era, I probably wouldn't have been a guest. I more than likely would have been a laundress or a worker in a shirt factory.
My second favorite era is the 1950's. Don't think sock hop 1950's. Think Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly dinner parties 1950's. The fashion designers knew how to dress a woman. The women themselves knew how to dress. In addition to the perfect dress, women needed to wear the perfect foundation or undergarments to help carry out the look. The women and the industry understood this. Now in 2010, unfortunately our fashion sense is reduced to peopleofwalmart.com.
When I'm on Ebay, I always try to take a peak to see if there are any vintage bridal gowns. After looking at a few this weekend, I started to think back to Princess Grace of Monaco. In my mind, there has never been a bridal gown that so epitomized elegance and style. This is my favorite bridal gown of all time.
Grace Kelly's gown was a wedding gift to her from MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) studio. Her gown was designed by Helen Rose who was one of the studio's top designers. In addition to Helen Rose, a staff of 36 seamstresses worked under top-secret conditions for six weeks on the bridal gown. The bridal gown was made up of silk peau de soie, 100 yards of silk tulle, 25 yards of silk taffeta and 125 year old Valenciennes lace that was purchased from a museum. I wish I could find better pictures to showcase the gown.
Her silk tulle veil consisted of thirty 9x4 appliqued lace flowers. On the bottom of the veil were two lace love birds. Is that not totally romantic or what? The headpiece was decorated also with the rose point Valenciennes lace and a wreath of orange blossoms. Orange blossoms were very popular with Victorian brides. Orange blossoms symbolize eternal love, marriage and fertility. Speaking of eternal love, do you remember what a heartbroken man Prince Rainer was at Grace's funeral. It still leaves sadness in my heart thinking about how he looked.
Princess Grace of Monaco's bridal gown was donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art just a few months after her wedding to Prince Rainer. The silk veil had started to disintegrate and crumble and had to be restored. The bridal ensemble is rarely on display due to color changes of the fabric and lace. As far as I know, the bridal gown and accessories were last on display in 2006 in what would have been Grace and Rainer's 50th wedding anniversary. I hope that someday I will be able to view this magnificent gown the next time it goes on display.